Growing a business from startup idea to successful enterprise is always a challenge and often involves changes to the original business plan.
We asked Webinterpret founders Patrick Smarzynski and Benjamin Cohen how they grew Webinterpret from a start up to a company with 10,000 users and what lessons they learned along the way.
Founding a startup isn’t always a guarantee for success and many companies fail. How did you manage to succeed?
Patrick told us that one of the most important things is a real passion for what you do and that it’s essential to work with people (everyone from customers, partners and investors) that share you drive and belief in your product or services. Passion on it’s own isn’t enough though, investments in R&D, hiring the best engineers and PhDs and lots of work were the factors that grew Webinterpret into the company that is is today.
Benjamin added that early on they identified a gap in the market and that it was through working with online retailers who shared their needs that enabled Webinterpret to develop solutions to come up with their ecommerce solutions.
What needs did online retailers have in the early stages of the eCommerce industry that no one was offering solutions for?
Eight years ago Webinterpret realised that online retailers needed to communicate in multiple languages to take advantage of cross border trade. Whilst trading overseas sounds pretty obvious today, back then it was a revelation and untapped source of sales. However Patrick explains that even then they made mistakes and their first solution only partly addressed the issues retailers faced.
What was the mistake you made?
At the start Webinterpret focused on communication between buyer and sellers thinking that the main barrier to entry was language. That’s why the first tool they created offered support for communication translation and although it was a great idea it wasn’t enough. This according to Patrick was a key point in the life of Webinterpret and the time when the future of the company was questionable.
Benjamin explains that a rethink showed that they needed a solution which could remove many of the complexities of selling overseas and realised that they needed to create a turnkey solution that would make cross border trade simple and accessible to anyone who wants to start selling internationally online.
Patrick explains that this realisation was the turning point for Webinterpret. It was also the moment when the current company mission was created. It says that “Our goal is to fully democratize international eCommerce, making it possible for any company, small or large, to offer their products worldwide with a few clicks”.
How does Webinterpret simplify international online selling
They built a service which includes the translation and synchronization of eBay, Amazon (and in the near future webstore sellers’ listings), and communication with their international customers. Their products are listed in the local language, optimized for local keywords and categories. This leads to a huge increase in international visibility for the customers’ products, which in turns leads to much higher revenue. In addition WebInterpret works with eBay and Amazon sellers’ ERP system and with their multichannel tools.
Where would you like to see Webinterpret within the next 5 years?
Benjamin immediately responds saying We would like Webinterpret to be ready to provide services for retailers all over the world. He says that right now they are working closely with our customers on ideas they have as to how Webinterpret could improve. I believe that this project will have a great impact on our ability to optimise international sales.
Patrick adds that Webinterpret now focuses on improving the services that we are providing for customers. We have specialist teams that are directly dedicated to the improvement of our translations and technical aspects of the platform. With their support, we are aiming to provide a service that 100% of our customers will be satisfied with.
It is almost Christmas. If you had one wish regarding eCommerce what would it be?
Benjamin wishes that any e-merchant could reach international buyer without language barriers and with a stable economy.
Patrick added that he wishes Cross Border Trade becomes so natural that all sellers who start an online business start selling internationally from the day they open their business.